And Go!!! (the internet terminal at the airport didn’t want me to log into DD for some reason, so I had to post in LJ instead)
Well, we survived leg 1 of our journey (though it felt a bit touch and go a couple of times), and are now settled into leg 2, from Sydney to Perth.
And we survived my worst nightmare about this trip (ok, maybe not my *worst* nightmare – there were no screaming balls of flame falling out of the sky) – a flight being delayed. It was kind of a comedy of errors, really (I can say that, now that I’m safely on the plane). First of all, the plane was late arriving in Christchurch, so we boarded nearly an hour late. The pilot promised us he’d make up the time, but things apparently didn’t go according to plan, because we were still half an hour late arriving in Sydney.
Still, that wasn’t too much of a worry, because we still had an hour and a half to get through customs and transfer over to the domestic terminal. (What *was* a worry was that it sounded very much like the landing gear didn’t come down properly the first time – there was the normal sound of them starting to come down (we were sitting right above them), then a strange graunching noise, silence for a bit, then the landing gear noise again, this time accompanied by some squealing like metal against metal. A few concerned looks between the passengers, but no announcement, so we assumed death wasn’t imminent. Although I had my doubts when we actually landed – not one of the best landings I’ve felt, as the wheels hit the ground rather heavily).
Anyway, despite those few nervous moments in the landing, we weren’t too worried about getting to the next flight. We went through immigration with no hassles, then stood by the luggage carousel waiting for our bags to appear. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting…. The carousel remained resolutely still, with no bags. It was about half an hour before our bags finally arrived. That’s ok, we reassured ourselves, we’ve still got an hour before our boarding call.
At customs, we got directed into different queues, but somehow both managed to get stuck behind very slow people. In front of me was a woman who obviously spoke very little English, with a very heavy bag. It went though the x-ray, with mine following behind, but when it came out the other side, and the official told her she could take it, she just looked blankly at him. In the meantime, my bag was banked up behind it, blocking the x-ray machine so the next bag couldn’t go through. So the official operating the machine, not noticing the drama going on with the woman and his colleage, starting telling me to get a move on and take my bag. But I couldn’t get at it, because the woman’s bag was in the way. And I couldn’t even help her with her bag, because the way she was standing she was blocking me reaching it.
Eventually it emerged that she couldn’t lift the bag down herself, so was waiting for the official to lift it for her. But he took one look at the bag and said “I can’t lift that!”. At least he did shove it along the table a bit so I could get my bag out. I raced along to the queue otakuu was coming through, thinking she’d be waiting impatiently for me, but she wasn’t through yet anyway.
We were probably only held up an extra 5 or 10 minutes, but it felt like forever as we watched the minutes tick away until our next flight. But at least we were through now. All we had to do, according to the friendly immigration official who’d given us the instructions, was turn right when we exited customs, and follow the signs to domestic transfer. So we did. We turned right, and followed the signs, and followed the signs, and followed some more signs, and more signs, and more… taking us along increasingly narrower and more “back of the airport” looking corridors. Half way along one of these seemingly endless corridors were a couple of snack machines – we wondered if they were telling us something about how much further we’d have to walk.
But finally, we reached the transfer area, where we went through ANOTHER security screening (yeah, like we’d somehow manage to smuggle something into our cases between customs and there!), and then were directed to… wait. The shuttle bus was parked outside, and there was a small group of people waiting to get on it, but a barrier blocked our way.
So we sat and waited, checking our watches with increasing panic, until finally they let us onto the bus. And then followed the most incredible trip, from some back door of the airport, across the freight area (right under the tail of a Fed-Ex plane!), through a hanger area, where we passed the most enormous hanger with a huge 7-something-7 parked inside it and looking small, and finally pulled in to another back door.
By now, we had 5 minutes to get to our next plane. We checked the departure board, and sure enough, it was at the furthest end of the terminal. Another very brisk walk for further than seemed possible to contain within one building (at least all this walking will make up for the chocolate icecream we had on the plane), and we finally reached the gate, only 3 minutes late. Panting, we looked up at the departure board… and discovered that the flight had been delayed anyway, and we had another 10 minutes to wait 🙂
So here we are, in the dark somewhere above Australia (I saw some lights below us a while back, the first I’d seen since Sydney. Consulting the map in the Qantas magazine, we came to the conclusion that we had absolutely no idea where we are (hopefully the pilot does!), but decided that the lights were probably from the town of Iron Knob, just because it was such a great name :-))
Oh, and the movie is the same one we had between Christchurch and Sydney. And it wasn’t very good the first time (27 Dresses).
Next stop Perth.
Many hours later (10.30-ish Perth time)
We’re here!!!! We met libertine101, and (more importantly ;-)) Arki and Bandit, and are about to collapse in a corner. But updating blogs seemed more important 🙂